Rafting down the Martha Brae River in Jamaica was an experience I’ll never forget. “Top 10 most romantic places in the world, babe!” he said as we scrolled through the pictures. I am so glad he read whatever article he did because the serenity and beauty of that river will stay with me forever.
About a 30 minute ride from Iberostar in Montego Bay, we arrived at a clearing, a shot walk from the rivers edge. We were given life jackets & rum punch ($3 each), then lead to the river. The entire ride was more comfortable than I anticipated. You need to be barefoot on the raft, but you wont get wet. Our tour guide was perfect (for us). He gave us an idea of the history of the island — there was a nearby plantation & slaves would escape by following the river. We learned about Nanny of the Maroons, who is basically the Jamaican Harriet Tubman and would provide a path to freedom to escaped slaves. He showed us the banana 🍌 , akee, coconut 🥥 & plenty other fruits the grew right above our heads. The ackee grows everywhere, making it the national fruit of Jamaica and a primary ingredient in their famous dish, Ackee and Saltfish.
“Nothin’ dangerous in Jamaica, Mon,” the other tour guide answered questions nearby. There are no tigers 🐅 or bears 🐻 in the mountains 🏔 and no crocodiles 🐊 or sharks 🦈 in the river. (There are plenty huge fish 🎣 in water. & American artillery in the streets, according to our driver 🧐). The most dangerous thing, in Jamaica, has always been the people — starting with the slave traders. As you look around you, it’s easy to see the riches the Europeans must have gone crazy for. In comparison to what I saw of Europe (and of Montego Bay via parasail), every inch of Jamaica is lush & fertile. It’s also interesting to understand what Jamaica has to offer (similarly or different from) other Caribbean nations. The grandparents I never met (on my fathers side) were from Jamaica and it was a true blessing to be able to experience & admire the earth itself.
Our tour guide actually lived along the river, so it was great to hang with a true local. He told us that many people who live by the river make their living from tourists. We ended up buying 2 bowls ($20 each) and paid a little too much (you can haggle down to $10), but it felt good to help him out and thank him for the ride. Oh, and for letting us roll up on the raft lol
Have you ever gone river rafting? At Martha Brae? leave your questions and comment s below!